Via the WSJ via Marginal Revolution: ‘GameStop Mania Reveals Power Shift on Wall Street—and the Pros Are Reeling.’
Please, Dear Reader, think about Twitter: With your own capital investment of an average $200-400 for a mobile device, you can install Twitter’s ‘free’ (you’re the product) software onto your device. The software will access the hardware (camera, video) as well as other software, so that you can upload what you’ve recorded onto their platform. Additionally, the barrier to entry is low enough for the UI (user interface) to allow searching all kinds of topics, engaging similar users (others with the same low costs to entry).
Suddenly, many people who once needed much higher capital investment (labor costs, professional cameras, professional skills, licenses, lobbyists, lawyers etc) at least have the illusion of being in competition with many bigger players, while communicating with similar smaller ones.
Meanwhile, the programmers, developers, management, lobbyists, lawyers and politically connected people at Twitter have become new big players of a sort (while it lasts). More organized (and politically/ideologically favored) individuals and groups seem to influence more, and faster.
Analogously, in my mind, and hopefully in reality, some investor figured out that GameStop was being incorrectly valued by big players. With this knowledge, and with knowledge-sharing on a platform of smaller players, a group of people mobilized (individuals and smaller groups can’t usually compete at scale nor directly with the bigger players).
We’ve been rearranging our society and institutions around increasingly technically mediated channels, so those with more IQ capital, knowledge of hardware/software capital, and social capital are using these channels for all the other things people do: Knowledge, sex, love, friendship, power, influence, fame, pride, vanity etc.
On that note, I don’t buy into many ‘liberatory’ and leveling equality claims. We have hierarchies for lots of reasons, and we have authority for lots of reasons (hopefully legitimate authority aligned with the best among us and the best within us, constrained by the right incentives).
There’s definitely a lot of change going on right now, but how is the actual power being leveraged and authority being used?
Who’s going to be in charge? And, of what?
Personally, I would love to see alternatives to information-sharing than Twitter, possessing similar functionality, but with deeper roots to freedom of thought and expression (yeah, you’ll probably have to pay something):
Some quotations on what I’m taking to be the same old human nature:
Do you trust those following their moral lights to allow you to follow yours?
“The moral world has no particular objection to vice, but an insuperable repugnance to hearing vice called by its proper name.”
‘Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue‘